Published studies have shown that more than half of the pet population is overweight. Keeping cats fit can be challenging, since they’re mostly kept indoors and they love to sleep the day away. While it is okay to let them have their rest, exercise is just as important. Their sleepiness, combined with weight gain after being “fixed,” can turn many indoor cats into true “fat cats.”
So how can you keep your cat in shape?
Know Their Routine. The first thing you can do for your cat is to get to know them and their schedule. While it is known that cats sleep mostly during the day and have the most energy at night; it would be a good idea to see if your cat has energy between their daytime catnaps to play. Once you have an idea of their sleep schedule, try to catch them in that in between time and try to play games with them.
Make Time for Play. It’s a common misconception that cats would rather be left alone. Just like any other pet, the more affection you give your cat, the more responsive they’ll be. So make sure to take some time every day to play with your cat and you will both benefit from it. Boredom is your cat’s worst enemy! The more you bond with your cat the more they will like you – it’s a wonderful snowball effect.
What Should Your Cat Play With? The sky is the limit when it comes to playing with your cat. Get creative with it because your cat is probably interested in playing with anything from a laser pointer to a string to a ball of yarn. Cat towers are a great tool to use to keep your cat interested in playing, while giving them a resource to claw or scratch at (other than your nice leather couch). Cat Shelves are similar to cat towers in that they give a nice platform for your cat to take a nap on but they have to use some effort to get onto the cat shelf.
Many pet stores will also carry fishing pole-type toys with feathers at the end that cats love to chase. This gives them a great deal of aerobic exercise while keeping them entertained.
Does your cat enjoy the thrill of the hunt? If so, your cat might even play fetch with you. Get a rubber ball and throw it around your house. This will force your cat to be active by giving them something to chase. You can also get a bunch of boxes that are stacked at different heights for them to jump in and out of. The more aerobics involved the better.
If all else fails, seek some advice from your veterinarian. They are full of good information and probably are more than happy to share it with you. You might even discuss the possibility of installing a cat door to let your cat get outside and have some playtime in the open air.